The rivalry of the Eastern Conference is without a doubt the Heat and the Bulls. When those two teams meet, it seems as if the NBA world slows down to check in on what’s going on.
They need each other, motivate each other like Joker to Batman or Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker. Without one, the other really isn’t as generally interesting to outside parties. It’s this animal need for each other that motivates one another to get better.
It was because the Heat silenced Derrick Rose that the Bulls finally decided to go out and get a shooting guard and grabbed Rip Hamilton. It was Dwayne Wade’s offensive prowess that prompted the Bulls to draft Marquette’s Jimmy Butler.
The same holds true on the flip side of the coin, even if people try to pretend the Big 3 make Miami perfect. They drafted Norris Cole to try and have a point guard who can at least run with the best Bull Derrick Rose. The added Shane Battier to try and hold down Luol Deng and to boost a Heat bench that doesn’t level up to the Bench Mob.
But oddly, we find ourselves in exactly the same position as last year: the Bulls, sans a solid shooting guard option, are trying to close out on the Heat who still don’t have a point guard.
It’s the need to one up the other, be a step ahead that has many speculating that Steve Nash will not re-sign with the Phoenix Suns and play mercenary in a last ditch effort to win a championship.
Adding Nash would do one thing for the Heat but it’s not what you think. Nash would provide a likeability factor to the Heat and would even get some people on board to root for them. It’s the Dirk Nowitzki effect — the aging star who’s never been properly given his due for putting so much sweat and blood into a team but is still without the ultimate trophy.
Nash wants to, but that doesn’t really mean anything at this point.
“I would listen,” Nash said. “I love what they’re doing there. A lot of people don’t like them because they put all that talent there. But they’re professional, they play hard, they play together. Their coaching staff has done a great job, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. I would definitely listen.”
But the catch would be Nash had to go to Miami to win it but the best bit is we would all hypocritically find this more acceptable of Nash then we will when LeBron wins a title with the Heat.
The real catch though is adding Nash wouldn’t make the Heat better then the Bulls. Miami would without a doubt be a better team, but simply adding Nash is not enough for the sensible NBA fan to instantly make the Heat the best team in the NBA.
This isn’t a dig at Nash or even really a dig at the Heat. They’re an excellent team and they are on the level with Chicago, but Nash doesn’t put them a bar ahead. It’d be an illusion and would only strengthen the Heat’s fan base for the duration of Nash’s stay in South Beach.
The fact of the matter is, adding Nash shows that the Heat are really just what the Celtics are but less mature.
Miami has the talent, has the skill but not the leadership or maturity. It’s still the issue we had last year where is it LeBron’s team or Wade’s? If this wasn’t the case — and all twelve of Miami’s true fans will fight to the death to say otherwise — then why aren’t the Heat the ones closing out on the Bulls?
The Bulls are losing because Rose isn’t in the lineup, but they aren’t even losing enough to call it losing. It’s more like hiccups. The Heat lose with LeBron and Wade and Bosh in the lineup.
It’s a tired argument but it’s true. If Miami was the better team like so many people are convinced they are, then why are they the ones four games out?
It’s not a valid argument in the regular season as we saw the Bulls sweep there last season but avoid a sweep by one game in the playoffs.
But the thought of adding Nash making the Heat an instant champion is preposterous. But hey, it happened in the minds of some this year WITHOUT Nash.
Bottom line is, the Bulls and Heat fuel each others actions and that’s the only real certainty about the two teams. The Heat may have the popular vote, but the Bulls manage to still stick it to them with or without the vote of confidence and cool and they will continue to do so with or without Steve Nash on the Heat.